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Ehrlich on the Environment: Many Links, One Chain

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Author: the Inkslinger

Responding to a heckler who said his songs all sounded the same, musician Neil Young once famously remarked that, "it’s all one song." In their new book,

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Bush Closing EPA Libraries, vast amounts of research on chemicals, human health and the environment lost forever!

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Author: keatskate

25 years ago today, Jimmy Carter signed the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, better known as Superfund, creating the Federal government's program to clean up the nation's growing and out of control hazardous waste sites.

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The Grass is Growing at the Roots

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As I read the news these days, it's almost impossible not to come to the conclusion that things are bad and getting worse in a hurry! But as is usually the case, the good news is just harder to find because, well... It doesn’t make very good news.

So to brighten up your day, take a look at a story in the July 31st issue of The Nation by Mark Hertsgaard, Green Grows Grassroots. It’s an amazingly thoughtful and hopeful look at how grassroots organizing is making a comeback that is producing some pretty impressive positive change.

That change is symbolized by the new chairman of the board of the National Wildlife Federation, Jerome Ringo, a former petrochemical worker from Louisiana's "Cancer Alley." One of my favorite quotes is:

"Most environmental groups "were founded by people who fished to put fish on the wall, not by people who fished to put fish on the table.”
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Back from Portugal

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I got back last night from a week in Portugal. It was our annual immediate family-only trip. Every year, Chiara, Alexander, Meika, my wife, and myself take a week alone somewhere to get reaquainted. It’s amazing what happens when we spend two hours having dinner rather than 2 minutes, and talk about world events rather than who’s going out tonight and what time they have to be home.

Life is so full of habits and distractions – rushing to do things that probably don’t really matter, or failing to see things because we think we already saw them – that almost anything that forces us out of our daily pattern can produce wonderful and unexpected results. We observed how different graffiti was in Portugal than in the U.S. (more often than not, it’s almost art or something actually better than most art), what our country looks like when viewed by others, which we did by reading the British newspapers (the Guardian has always been a favorite of mine), and what it’s like to be in a culture where there are more farmer’s markets than supermarkets.

I also noticed the beauty of their windmills and how they discourage people from driving cars. (An hour on their toll road costs $20 and three-quarters of a tank of diesel fuel for our mini-van cost $90 while a 3-hour express train ride about the distance from Washington DC to New York cost less than $40.) Food is served slowly. Almost all stores close from 1pm to 4pm. Tips seem deeply appreciated, and most newsstands seemed to have at least 5 to 7 local papers.

Arriving back at JFK airport in New York City last night was a shock to the senses even for someone who was born in New York. I missed the visual pleasure of being surrounded by a more thoughtfully designed architectual landscape, the slower pace, the absence of chain stores and getting into a 20 year-old Mercedes taxi!

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We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Toxins

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Author: the Inkslinger

Does this sound familiar: You read the papers. You watch the news. You surf the blogosphere. And with every new bit of eco-reporting, you just keep thinking… This is freakin’ nuts. There’s got to be a better way.

And of course there is. We don’t have to be chained to the toxics treadmill. With a little creativity, we can break the cycle and end our chemical addictions. A brand new study from the Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) at the University of Massachusetts Lowell shows just how possible it is.

Researchers took five heavy toxicological hitters (lead, formaldehyde, perchloroethylene, hexavalent chromium, and DEHP) and tried to find realistic substitutes for them. They looked at about 100 alternative ideas spread across 16 different applications for which the toxins in question are currently used. For every application they examined, at least one alternative was found that could be employed today with lower impacts in the environment and human health.

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Into the Amazon

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Author: Gregor

After two days in Rio, Jeffrey and I have made our way at last and with no small effort to the Amazon rainforest where we spent today flying over some of the devastated areas at its edge. We've managed to find a phone line and I'm able to get this audio log entry out. Tomorrow we head up river into the incredible curtain of green and the heart of the jungle. More then...

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With New Eyes

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Even prior to joining the Seventh Generation team last fall, the term “environmentalist” left me feeling unsettled.

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